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TREATY 2 U taking the Treaty of Waitangi to the people of New Zealand

News of a special interactive exhibition - 25/02/06

The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of the nation of New Zealand. It is regularly referred to when there is discussion about the bicultural nature of our nation, about land rights, about past dealings over land and about present attempts to provide compensation. This might be in Parliament, in political meetings, in lectures in tertiary education, in school classes – wherever people are seriously sharing views about our history, the situation in 2006 and the future. Some New Zealanders have strong views supporting or opposing the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in our legislation, yet when questioned they often have only sketchy knowledge of its content and its provisions. Others confess that they have no idea about its significance – that it is just something that politicians and Maori activists argue about. This situation needs to be remedied and three organisations, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand, supported by the State Services Commission (SSC) Treaty Information Unit,have joined to mount an exhibition about the Treaty. All these organisations have leading roles in looking after New Zealand’s treasures. TREATY 2 U brings the story of the Treaty of Waitangi to all New Zealanders through a unique nationwide touring exhibition in a state of the art truck.

The specially designed Treaty 2 U truck
The specially designed Treaty 2 U truck
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A media release began with the now often quoted phrase – “It took 7 days to write, 7 months to sign, 165 years to debate … and counting.” Viewing the exhibition should stimulate further debate, but on this occasion it should be more informed discussion.

TREATY 2 U began its tour in January
The TREATY 2 U exhibition was launched outside the Lake Taupo Museum and Art Gallery on 14 January 2006. The exhibition truck is to tour thirty five small towns and cities throughout New Zealand.

What sort of exhibition is TREATY 2 U?
The exhibition uses interactive technology to help visitors to find out more about the Treaty, but it also gives them the opportunity to express their own views on the Treaty and the issues involved.

Replicas of the original nine Treaty documents will be on display to give a stronger visual reality to the document. The replicas have been especially ‘aged’ by the same artist who worked on the documents featured in the Lord of The Rings film trilogy.

Dr Seddon Bennington, Te Papa's Chief Executive, said that Te Papa was proud to be part of the initiative. “The Treaty is an integral part of our history, New Zealand's future, and our unique cultural identity. We as a nation are learning to understand how the Treaty has, and continues to play a part in our everyday lives.”

Dr Claudia Orange, Te Papa’s Director of History and the curator of the TREATY 2 U exhibition, said, “TREATY 2 U covers the events that led up to the Treaty, from the first contact between Mäori and Päkehä, to the lengthy debate the night before signing.

“It explains what is written in the documents and the crucial differences between the Mäori and English versions. The exhibition follows the documents’ journeys during 1840 as more signatures were sought. It also looks at the varying expectations held by Mäori and Päkehä groups.” Dr Orange said.

Exhibition well supported
Dr Orange’s comment after five weeks was, “The reception has been all we could have wished for. Numbers have averaged at around 400 a day and schools bookings in some places have been too heavy to accommodate all who wished to come.”

Kit O'Connor, the Project Manager, has also been very pleased with the response to the exhibition. "We have been on the road for five and a half weeks, and not only have the attendances been really good, but the comments on the cards filled in by visitors have contained excellent comments on all aspects of the exhibition."

An exhibition for everyone, not just for schools
"A satisfying number of adults have attended as well as school parties who have booked times during the day. Some councils have used the exhibition as part of their staff's professional development courses," Kit said.

Exhibition a valuable resource for teachers
"We are particularly keen for teachers to come to the exhibition so that with improved knowledge of the Treaty and its implications they can feel more confident about teaching their classes about the Treaty. It is an optional subject in the present curriculum and we would like to see more teachers choosing to teach it and discuss its implications after attending TREATY 2 U."

Extracts from some comments chosen at random

  • “Interesting and informative, content was set out in a way that had a nice flow to it. Points were short and concise which made taking in the information easier. Good way to teach NZ’ders about their history”

    “Very well put together. An excellent exhibition. Should be an ongoing tour. Perhaps other exhibitions could follow. An excellent way to bring history to the people. Love it!”

  • “Awesome to have this information of the Treaty. Take it around NZ. Keep it ongoing. Let our New Zealanders know about the Treaty of Waitangi”.
  • “This has been such an amazing and informative experience. So many injustices committed in the name of law and have had far reaching consequences in terms of health and education, housing, income. Shame you couldn’t stay longer. Come back please”.
  • “Excellent job!! Go through secondary schools. Staff are amazing. Power game a revelation”.
  • Great exhibition! Excellent means of educating people about the Treaty and issues surrounding it”.

Inside exhibition (left hand side). Inside TREATY 2 U (right hand side)
Inside exhibition (left hand side).
Click here to view a larger version
Inside TREATY 2 U (right hand side)
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TREATY 2 U aims to help New Zealanders to discover which expectations were met and which were not as time went on and to understand the growing unrest among both Mäori and Päkehä that led to a settlement process and how that process works. The comments quoted above suggest some success in these aims.

Look at the chart below to see where and when you can view TREATY 2 U

Click here to view a larger version

How does the exhibition show the themes?
The exhibition is divided into three segments as outlined below.

Segment One: Mäori and the British 1800-1840
Te ngaru tuatahi, te ngaru tuarua, enei tokorua, he ngaru pae-akau, i pae me ona ano Rangatiratanga.
The first wave and the second wave both cast ashore, each landing with its own sovereignty and nobility intact.

In the 1830’s Aotearoa was known to be an independent Mäori world where Europeans were visitors, but European tools, weapons, dress, Christianity and literacy had brought permanent change. Britain had gained a toehold on Aotearoa through British traders and missionary work, which led to the arrival of James Busby. This arrival was the first step to British annexation and treaty making.

The narrative experience takes visitors through the period 1800-1840 and is represented in the following six panels.

  1. A Mäori World
  2. Mäori English Contact
  3. War, Migration, Change
  4. Trade
  5. Missionary Impact
  6. Political Relationships

AV- Edward Gibbon Wakefield: This video illustrates the kind of discussion that Edward Gibbon Wakefield might have had in 1839. Based in London, his company marketed New Zealand as a promising destination for settlers. The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi made organised settlement possible.

FAQs: Many people have questions about the Treaty of Waitangi and also the Waitangi Tribunal. This is a chance to discover answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

Cartoons: A group of cartoons are displayed as a way of highlighting various issues relating to the Treaty of Waitangi..

Timeline: A timeline provides information on key events in New Zealand from the early 1800s up until present day. This is accompanied with a projection of a map of New Zealand that includes three animated sequences. The first sequence looks at the trail the nine copies of the Treaty travelled around New Zealand. The second depicts the transfer of land from Mäori hands into European ownership and includes the confiscations. The third sequence shows the shift in population pre-1840 up to 2001.

Segment Two: The Anatomy of the Treaty
Anei te Tämore ö te whenua, nä te Tangata ï waihanga, nä te Atua ï whakamana, kia rongo whanuitia ki te motu.
Here is the Tap-root of our understanding, made by man, sanctioned by God, agreed to by the two peoples of our land.

This segment explores how the Treaty of Waitangi was drafted and how it travelled through New Zealand. The content in this segment attempts to demystify the document by providing clear and concise interpretations of what was written. Many problems arose out of the fact that the Mäori and English language versions carried different meanings.

The narrative experience takes visitors through the four topics covered in this segment:

  1. How the Treaty was made
  2. The Treaty Trail
  3. The Content of the Treaty
  4. wo Peoples, Two Understandings

AV- Re-enactment of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi: This video gives us an idea of what it may have been like during the discussions in Waitangi in February 1840. Henry Williams translates what the Chiefs say to Governor Hobson.

Interactive- Signatures of the Treaty: This interactive enables visitors to explore the signatures contained on the Treaty copies in more detail. By rolling the curser over the signatures you will access information about the signatory’s iwi and hapu. Visitors can also see where the Treaty was signed and also which region of New Zealand hapu and iwi were affiliated in 1870. Additionally, it will be possible to see images of people and places related to the signing.

Dr Claudia Orange explores interactive database on Rangatira (chiefs) that signed the Treaties Interactive_Database of Treaty signatories
Dr Claudia Orange explores interactive database
on Rangatira (chiefs) that signed the Treaties

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Interactive_Database of Treaty signatories
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Treaty Replicas: Reproductions of the nine-signed copies of the Treaty of Waitangi are beautifully displayed. The originals are held in the Archives New Zealand/Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga, Wellington Office.

Nine treaties
Nine treaties
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Segment Three: The Treaty Today – Titiro Whakamuri, Hïkoi Whakamua
Ko ngä pae-tawhiti-whaia kia tata, ko ngä pae tata, whakamaua kia tïna, kia marama he aha te pono tika, he aha te moemoeä.
The potential for tomorrow, depends on what we do today, clearly understanding what is reality, and what is illusion.

This segment explores the notion that that Treaty was the basis for good relationships in New Zealand but this goal was undermined by the influx of settlers and subsequent demands. It looks at promises made by early governors and Mäori appeals, land loss, the establishment of a settler government, the shift of Crown duty to New Zealand government, Mäori as minority in their own country, and how government power worked against Mäori. The segment also looks at attempts to redress issues and at the place of protest. Some case studies have been incorporated into this segment and visitors will be encouraged to think about the role of the Treaty today and its future.

The narrative experience takes visitors through the following narratives:

  • Loss and redress – the Mäori Voice
  • Te Reo
  • Office of Treaty Settlement
  • Waitangi Tribunal
  • Orakei – case study
  • Manukau – case study
  • Ngäi Tahu – case study
  • Commercial fishing
  • Where to from here?

Audio Posts: This area offers visitors the opportunity to hear audio footage relating to the Treaty of Waitangi. It includes music, poetry, and quotes.

Interactive - Power Game: This game provides visitors with the opportunity to select an opinion on an issue relating to the Treaty of Waitangi. Visitors can see how the opinion they have selected sits within the opinions of others who have played previously.

Electronic Message Wall: The Treaty of Waitangi is inclusive of all New Zealanders. This wall enables visitors to make their own short comment based on their personal view of the Treaty of Waitangi (or on the exhibition) by using either a cell-phone or a keyboard. The projection also includes AV footage of a variety of New Zealander’s talking about the Treaty of Waitangi from their perspective.

Tent Area In the tent area there is a computer containing the Treaty Information Unit, Treaty of Waitangi website. This website contains additional information about the Treaty of Waitangi that is not contained within the exhibition. Also, there is an extended audio library, with a selection of Radio New Zealand Treaty focused interviews and a selection of books for visitors to browse through.

TREATY 2 U aims to show that despite controversy over the years, the Treaty of Waitangi continues to help New Zealanders understand the past, make sense of the present, and build for the future.

Mark in your diary now the place and times when you could visit TREATY 2 U. The hours are 9am-5pm although they often open until later if the public interest demands it, at least until 6pm!

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